Called by God irrespective of money or fame

The greatest wish of many people is to be with the Lord forever. God elects and calls to this great future. However, there is still a second call we need to hear. Thoughts from a divine service by the Chief Apostle.

In his sermon in Riga (Latvia) on Sunday, 19 August 2018, Chief Apostle Schneider said to the congregation of 212 members at the beginning of the divine service, “It is always special to experience a divine service in a small circle. It is my wish that this service may contribute to strengthening our faith.”

He based his sermon on 1 Corinthians 1: 26¬–27: “For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty.”

Chief Apostle Schneider explained: “God has chosen and called us to share eternal fellowship with Him. He wants to prepare us so that we can enter into communion with Him. We are to grow into the likeness of Christ.”

Divine election is based on grace, not merit. “God has called us to live with Him eternally. That’s why He chose us. –Whom did He elect? They are certainly not the best. We do not deserve to be children of God. Let us remain humble before God. We are totally dependent on His grace.”

The fear of God is more important than human knowledge. “God always knows more than I do. I simply do what He tells me. He is right, and that is what counts: not human knowledge or memorising the Bible or studying theology for twelve years. Important is this deep fear of God: God knows best.”

Love is more important than being faultless. “From the human point of view, perfection implies that you are without fault. Yet God’s standards for perfection are completely different. To be perfect in Jesus Christ means to be perfect in love. We are obedient because we love Jesus Christ. We do not serve the Lord Jesus in order to obtain or inherit something, but because we love Him. We still make mistakes and are poor sinners, but every sin hurts us.”

However, human beings have been called for yet another reason: “Jesus has not only called us to have fellowship with Him, He has also called us to serve Him. He wants us to serve Him and our fellow human beings already today, on earth, and then later in the thousand-year kingdom of peace: as priests of God and Christ.”

Strength comes from faith, not skills. “Paul said, ‘I do not come in my own name, but because Jesus has commissioned me.’ That was his strength.” And: “We cannot say to God, ‘I can’t do this, though.’ We believe in our mission. If He has chosen us, it is because we can do it.”

Serving as part of a team, not alone. “If you think: sure, but I just won’t be able to manage, then remember Moses,” the Chief Apostle suggested. “God had called Moses, and Moses debated with God: ‘Look, I just can’t do it. It won’t work.’” In the end, God said, “Enough, you are not alone. I gave you your brother, Aaron.” – We cannot carry out our mission alone and in isolation. If we are one in the congregation and help one another, we can fulfil our mission.”

Let us not evaluate our work with human criteria. “We want our service to be perfect. Sure, we have our own ideas, a vision, as to what success might mean for us. Again, let’s not forget: we are only servants. God measures success completely different.” And then the Chief Apostle added: “The Apostles have not been given the mission to convert and seal the whole world. The mission of Christians is not to exterminate evil in the world. Nor is it the mission of the Apostles to make the whole world the bride of Jesus Christ. This is God’s business.”

“Our success will be to do the will of God to the end. This is how Jesus was successful: He did God’s will to the end. God blessed the work of Paul, who was faithful to the end. And in the same way, God also wants to bless our service. He will bless those who serve Him faithfully until the end.”

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Oliver Rütten
Latvia, Chief Apostle, Divine service